These films never appeared on any triple bill that I know of, but I’d like to think they did, somewhere in some small town with a theater manager that knew a good scare when he saw it. How could the programmer resist it? Each film is united by a beautiful black and white sheen, eerie locales and their ability to scare the bejeezus out of you. But they’re also alike in their differences, coming at their specters from distinctly different vantage points.
1944’s The Uninvited, a three-hankie haunted house tale with a dysfunctional family subplot,
The world’s most terrifying clown Pennywise is back to stalk our nightmares in the new adaptation of It, on release now. Bill Skarsgard takes over from Tim Curry as the dreaded Stephen King creation and director Andy Muschietti’s movie has been praised for mixing genuine terror with Stand By Me levels of pathos.
It also marks the latest in a series of increasingly impressive chiller scores by British composer Benjamin Wallfisch. Having charged the likes of Lights Out, A Cure for Wellness and the recent Annabelle: Creation with a potent sense of musical fear, Wallfisch now scares the pants off us with his impressively creepy It soundtrack.
Sitting alongside some truly beautiful and tender material for our pre-teen heroes the Losers’ Club is an ear-shattering array of discordant horror techniques.
The self-titled Belle and her captor-turned-prince Beast have returned to cinema screens around the world. In Disney’s latest live-action reiteration of one of their much-loved animated fairytales, Bill Condon’s live-action Beauty and the Beast has reintroduced contemporary audiences to the pair. With their return has come explorations of Disney’s representations of gayness, the question of modern viewing habits, and record-breaking box office success (the film has broken the March record for best opening with a $175m domestic gross).
This multiplicity of films on the same tale has been seen before, with the reintroduction of Snow White in 2012 arriving in the form of three very different films. 2012 brought the strong and defiant rebel ‘Snow’ in Snow White and the Huntsman, while Mirror Mirror restyled the classic tale. Pablo Berger
20. The Innocents
Directed by Jack Clayton
Written by William Archibald and Truman Capote
The Innocents, which was co-written by Truman Capote, is the first of many screen adaptations of The Turn of the Screw. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t feel bad because most people haven’t – but The Innocents deserves its rightful spot on any list of great horror films. Here is one of the few films where the ghost story takes place mostly in daylight, and the lush photography, which earned cinematographer Freddie Francis one of his two Oscar wins, is simply stunning. Meanwhile, director Jack Clayton and Francis made great use of long, steady shots, which suggest corruption is lurking everywhere inside the grand estate. The Innocents also features three amazing performances; the first two come courtesy of child actors Pamela Franklin (The Legend of Hell House), and Martin Stephens (Village of the Damned
If you do and you live in St. Louis, you’re in luck! The Seventh Annual Robert Classic French Film Festival — co-presented by Cinema St. Louis and the Webster University Film Series begins March 13th. The Classic French Film Festival celebrates St. Louis’ Gallic heritage and France’s cinematic legacy. The featured films span the decades from the 1930s through the early 1990s, offering a comprehensive overview of French cinema. The fest is annually highlighted by significant restorations.
This year features recent restorations of eight works, including an extended director’s cut of Patrice Chéreau’s historical epic Queen Margot a New York-set film noir (Two Men In Manhattan) by crime-film maestro Jean-Pierre Melville, who also co-stars; a short feature (“A Day in the Country”) by Jean Renoir, on a double bill with the 2006 restoration of his masterpiece, The Rules Of The Game, and the
In 1955, Henri-Georges Clouzot, the acclaimed director of “The Wages of Fear” and “Diabolique,” joined forces with artist Pablo Picasso to make an entirely new kind of documentary, a film that could capture the moment and the mystery of creativity. Together, they devised an innovative technique: The filmmaker placed his camera behind a semi-transparent surface on which the artist drew with special inks that bled through. Clouzot thus captured a perfect reverse image of Picasso’s brushstrokes, and the movie screen itself became the artist’s canvas.
Price: Blu-ray $29.95
Studio: Twilight Time
Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison
The 1957 adventure-filled romantic drama Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison starring Robert Mitchum (Night of the Hunter) and Deborah Kerr (Black Narcissus) comes to Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
Featuring a clever script by director John Huston (The African Queen) and screenwriting veteran John Lee Mahin, the movie stars Mitchum as a no-nonsense Marine and Kerr as a dedicated nun: a decidedly odd couple stranded on a South Pacific island overrun by hostile Japanese forces during World War II. Their struggle to survive and their growing friendship are beautifully captured by the camera of superb cinematographer Oswald Morris, and given further support by composer Georges Auric’s lovely score.
The Blu-ray of Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison contains the following features:
-Isolated Music & Effects Track
-Fox MovieTone News
-Original Theatrical Trailer
-Liner notes by Julie Kirgo
Portmanteau movies became an established form in 1916 when one of its greatest examples, Dw Griffith's Intolerance, interweaving four stories reaching from ancient Babylon to the early 20th century, was released. They've been appearing ever since, covering a variety of subjects (a shared author, a theme, a genre, a setting), the greatest number produced in the 1950s and 60s when it was a useful device for bringing international moviemakers together.
The greatest portmanteau film came from Ealing Studios and was a collaboration between four staff directors, one celebrated (the Brazilian-born Cavalcanti) and three soon to become well known. It took as its subject the British ghost story or tale of the supernatural, was written by a variety of hands, and went into production in that curious period between D-Day and the end of the last war, though there's no explicit reference to the war.
The BFI's terrific gothic season continues with this brilliantly chilling 1961 adaptation of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw. Deborah Kerr stars as the governess whose young charges vacillate between the angelic and the demonic – or is it all in her mind?
Oozing ambiguity, Jack Clayton's shimmering gem is a masterclass in suggestion, a flawless evocation of the uncanny which pits the subconscious against the supernatural to genuinely hair-raising effect.
Atmospherically shot in monochrome Cinemascope by Freddie Francis, co-scripted by Truman Capote, and blending Georges Auric's music with genuinely eerie ambient sound, this enduring gem places a cold hand on the back of your neck, and then whispers into your ear: "It was only the wind, my dear… "
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Written and directed by Samuel Fuller
Shock Corridor stars Peter Breck as Johnny Barrett, an ambitious reporter who wants to expose the killer at the local insane asylum. To solve the case, he must pretend to be insane so they have him committed. Once in the asylum,
We pay tribute to Mary Yre, the star of stage and big-screen classics including Look Back In Anger and Where Eagles Dare...
There was something remote about Mary Ure that came across on screen so clearly. She looked untouchable, distant; she had great poise and enormous eyes that always contained a hint of wariness. A theatre actress in the main, she made very few films, but she always brought deeper meaning to the movies she was in, from action thrillers to science fiction, social drama or literary adaptations.
Always the supporting actress, her quiet ability to wring emotion from few words added a huge amount to these films. It’s so sad that she left behind only a few cinematic performances when she died at a young age, but here are five of her very best roles, and a reminder of how talented she was.
As with all lists, this is personal and nobody will agree with every choice – and if you do, that would be incredibly disturbing. It was almost impossible for me to rank them in order, but I tried and eventually gave up.
Directed by Samuel Fuller
Written by Samuel Fuller
Shock Corridor stars Peter Breck as Johnny Barrett, an ambitious reporter who wants to expose the killer at the local insane asylum. In order to solve the case, he must pretend to be insane so they have him committed. Once in the asylum, Barrett sets to work, interrogating the other patients and keeping a close eye on the staff.
Directed by Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski’s brilliant horror-thriller was nominated for two Oscars, winning Best Supporting Actress for Ruth Gordon. The director’s first American film, adapted from Ira Levin’s horror bestseller, is a spellbinding and twisted tale of Satanism and pregnancy. Supremely mounted, the film benefits from it’s strong atmosphere, apartment setting, eerie childlike score and polished production values by cinematographer William Fraker. The cast is brilliant, with Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes as the young couple playing opposite Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer, the elderly neighbors. There is ominous tension in the film from first frame to last – the climax makes for one of the greatest endings of all time. Rarely has a film displayed such an uncompromising portrait of betrayal as this one. Career or marriage – which would you choose?
30 – Eraserhead
Directed by David Lynch
Filmed intermittently over the course of a five-year period,
Directed by John Carpenter
1978 – Us
A historical milestone that single-handedly shaped and altered the future of the entire genre. This seminal horror flick actually gets better with age; it’s downright transcendent and holds up with determination as an effective thriller that will always stand head and shoulders above the hundreds of imitators to come. Halloween had one hell of an influence on the entire film industry. You have to admire how Carpenter avoids explicit onscreen violence, and achieves a considerable power almost entirely through visual means, using its widescreen frame, expert hand-held camerawork, and terrifying foreground and background imagery.
24 – Black Christmas
Directed by Bob Clark
1974 – Canada
We never did find out who Billy was. Maybe it’s for the best, since they never made any sequels to Bob Clark’s seminal slasher film, a film which predates Carpenter’s Halloween by four years. Whereas Texas Chainsaw Massacre, released the same year,
Unlike other avant-garde filmmakers, Cocteau sports a immensely playful spirit that causes viewers to wholly embrace his onscreen abstractions rather than dissect them for their intended meaning. The titular protagonist in “Orpheus” is told by another character that the “dreamer must accept his dreams,” and Cocteau expects his audience to follow suit. This results in a picture of unforgettable images as whimsically absurd as they are dramatically resonant.
Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0
Jean Marais stars as Orpheus, the poet famous in Greek mythology for journeying into
Tony then agrees to do the job, but not because he wants the money. He wants to hit he jeweler’s safe instead, not the outside window. We are then introduced to Cesar (Perlo Vita, better known as the director Jules Dassin), a master safe cracker from Milan and a colleague of Mario’s. They then plan the heist meticulously,
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